Inside the olive oil jar

by Brian Chatterton

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This ebook is available on the Amazon Kindle but can be loaded onto other devices such as computers and the Apple iPad.

About the ebook

Brian Chatterton wrote this ebook on olive oil from a background of more than twenty years as an olive grower and producer of extravergine olive oil in Umbria, central Italy. The oil from his grove in the mountains of Umbria in central Italy packs quite a flavour punch. His experience of olive oil from tree to bruschetta provides a depth to his explanation of olive oil quality.
The first section of the ebook explains the standards for oil set by chemical analysis. While extravergine is no guarantee of a good, tasty oil it should, if applied honestly, protect the consumer from rubbish. The other grades of olive oil are not to be despised and are useful for higher temperature cooking with the exception of sansa or pomace olive oil which is recovered from the waste of the olive oil mill and should be avoided at all cost.
The next section takes the reader into the search for a tasty oil. Big marketing brands have become notorious for the blandness of their oils but that does not have to be the case. While they may fulfil the legal requirements of extravergine olive oil (although that is by no means always the case) they pack such a miserable flavour punch that the consumer wonders what all the fuss is about. This chapter explains the value and difficulties with terroir as an alternative form of marketing. The flavour of the olive oil is vital for so much Italian food and for the cuisine of other Mediterranean countries. The use of poor quality olive oil outside Italy explains why Italian food rarely tastes as good overseas as it does at home.
The third section tries to provide a balanced account of the health benefits of olive oil. Unfortunately marketing whiz kids have exaggerated the health benefits to such as degree that olive oil is seen by some as a super food and cure for every know disease and some that are probably invented. These inflated claims should not discourage people from the real advantages of olive oil compared to most other oils and fats.
Traditionally consumers in Italy have purchased much of their oil direct from growers or small mills. Some writers have claimed that more than a third of the Italian oil never enters the usual commercial channels and does not end up on the supermarket shelf. The opportunity to make similar direct purchases for people living outside the producing zones is now much easier with the formation of free trade European Union and greatly improved courier services. Direct purchases provide an alternative means of obtaining good oil at reasonable prices.
There has been much debate about using olive oil for Indian and other highly flavoured foods. Brian has many links with India and discusses the best way to use olive oil in Indian cuisine for its health benefits. Indians are also becoming more interested in other national cuisines and are looking for the genuine tastes of Italian cooking which can only be found by using tasty olive oil. They are fortunate as their palates have not yet been spoilt by the bland brand oils that have become the universal standard in the supermarket dominated parts of the world.

This ebook is available from all Amazon web sites.